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Recovery from Opioids

Posted on: November 21st, 2017 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Opioid abuse and addiction has reached a level of national crisis and has been declared an epidemic in the U.S. Because opioid abuse is the highest it has ever been, more and more people are looking for options to recover from their issues with prescription painkillers. Fortunately, it is possible to quit opioids for good even for those who have struggled with an addiction for a long time.

There can be many factors that cause people to abuse opioids but it is important for everyone to understand that these kinds of drugs are highly addictive. Common opioids like codeine, Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percoset all contain slightly modified components of opium. They are prescribed to combat pain but they also tend to produce a feeling of euphoria that people become hooked on.

Opiates are also addictive because people tend to develop a tolerance to them meaning that they need to take more and more to get the same effects. Tolerance is actually one of the first signs of addiction as well as symptoms of withdrawal whenever someone misses a dose of the medication. Someone who is experiencing tolerance and withdrawal is most likely dealing with a physical dependence on the medication which makes it very difficult to quit.

Signs of an Opioid Addiction

Because opioids are a legal, prescription drug people may not be sure whether they or someone they love is actually dealing with an addiction. These are some possible signs that a person is addicted to opioids:

-Use of opioids has increased over time with a higher dose or more frequent dosage

-Withdrawal symptoms whenever medication is ceased for a period of time

– Using more medication than intended or more than is prescribed by a doctor

– Experiencing negative consequences as a result of opioid use

– Failing to meet responsibilities due to excessive opioid use

– Making unsuccessful attempts to reduce drug use

Whenever someone has lost control of their drug use and it is starting to interfere with their life then they are most likely dealing with an addiction. The only way to quit a serious addiction such as opioid abuse is to get help from a treatment center. Attempting to quit on your own is dangerous and most often ineffective.

Treatment for Opioid Abuse

In order to recover from an opioid addiction, the first step is to find a detox center to rid yourself of the chemical dependency that you have on the medication. Being physically addicted to a drug can be a huge impedance that prevents you from focusing on the mental aspects of addiction recovery. An opioid addict will face some significant struggles during detox but attending a detox clinic with medical staff on  hand will ensure that it is safe and effective.

During detox a patient may experience a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms once they completely abstain from any drug use. Withdrawal symptoms are normal, can be treated with medical care and usually subside within a few weeks. During detox people may experience symptoms such as:

  • Irritability, agitation, low energy
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach cramps,nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

People in detox also tend to have mental health symptoms such as feelings of depression or anxiety. These may subside over the course of detox but if they persist they can be treated in a rehab setting.

Following detox, it is equally important for someone with an opioid addiction to attend an inpatient or outpatient treatment program that will address their mental addiction to painkillers. Detox eliminates physical dependency but does not treat the underlying issues that may be present in someone who has an addiction. There may be mental health factors that contributed to their need to self-medicate or other issues that must be treated in a rehab facility.

At a rehab center, someone in recovery from an opioid addiction will have access to a personal therapist on a regular basis. Therapy is a crucial step in recovery because it allows a patient the chance to discuss their problems one on one with a professional who understands the causes and triggers that are involved with addiction. A therapist can help an individual figure out why they became addicted and give them insight on what they can do to remain sober.

One of the major benefits of attending a rehab facility is having the opportunity to connect with other people who are struggling with the same issues. Attending group therapy or support meetings can be a great way to heal from any problems of the past and develop new relationships that will keep you on track with your sobriety goals. A support system you can trust is a crucial element in preventing relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to opioids, there is help available. Contact a local treatment center that offers detox and inpatient rehab for opioid addiction as soon as possible.

Anxiety in Young Adults

Posted on: November 21st, 2017 by admin No Comments

Anxiety in Young Adults

Those who experience anxiety disorder are dealing with more than just normal daily worries and stresses. Anxiety can be a complicated and difficult issue to live with because it can cause people to struggle with keeping their routine. Someone who has anxiety finds that their life is often interrupted by overwhelming feelings and thoughts that prevent them from accomplishing certain and sometimes maintaining important relationships.

Unfortunately, anxiety is actually a very prevalent problem and one that is becoming more common among young adults either in high school or college. There has been a significant increase in the number of teens and young adults with anxiety and depression since the 1940s. Anxiety can be especially problematic for people at this age because they are still developing socially and becoming more self-aware.

Current statistics show that 25 percent of teens in the U.S. will fit the criteria for an anxiety disorder at some point in their life and anxiety is the most common mental disorder in adults with 18 percent of the population suffering from the problem. The U.S. also has a higher incidence of anxiety than the rest of the world so teens and young adults in America are particularly struggling with this issue. There are a few different theories as to why teens are now dealing with anxiety more than ever.

What Causes Anxiety for Teens and Young Adults

People experience anxiety for a variety of reasons but why does the trend seem to be increasing especially among young people? Some theorize that the way modern culture has changed may contribute to issues like depression and anxiety when children reach high school age. As technology and American lifestyles continue to change it could be negatively affecting young people’s mental health.

Isolation is a significant factor in the development of problems with anxiety as young people grow up and lack a support system. People need plenty of face to face social connection and a sense of being part of a community in order to feel mentally stable. As young people grow up they may be disconnected from their friends or their family.

Teens need even more social connection than adults because they are still developing and learning how to behave socially. Interaction with other people can help them reduce stress and develop good mental health. Without the support of loving parents, siblings and close friends many teens can start to become isolated and socially anxious.

In addition to environmental factors, some young people may be more prone to anxiety because they have a genetic vulnerability. They may have parents, grandparents or other relatives that have mental health problems. Genetic traits related to anxiety may not appear until adolescence when these issues become more visible.

Recognizing and Treating Anxiety Issues Early

It is important to take action as soon as symptoms of anxiety begin to appear in a young person. Ignoring the problem or assuming that it will resolve itself when they get older may cause the symptoms to worsen as the anxiety becomes more complex and interferes with their development. Even young teens may need professional support if their anxiety is starting to cause problems at school or with their peers.

If you notice any of these symptoms in a teen or young adult then it may be time to reach out to a therapist for help:



-trouble concentrating


-sleep problems

-fear of social situations

-poor performance in school

-low self-esteem

-behavioral problems

Anxiety can be different for each individual but if you suspect that a young person in your life is struggling then you should try to open a discussion with them. Ask them how they have been doing and whether they are adjusting well at school or at home. If they seem to be having issues with anxiety then consider helping them make plans for treatment.

For parents who have teens dealing with anxiety, it is a good idea to find a qualified therapist to talk to them and give them some advice and guidance. You can also help by making an effort to spend more time with your kids, provide support in any way you can and encourage them to join clubs or teen activities where they will feel accepted. Teens need support from both family and peers when they are coping with symptoms of a mental illness.

If you or someone you love has symptoms of anxiety, don’t hesitate to look for help from a psychiatrist or a treatment center. Young people can overcome many of their issues with anxiety and go on to lead normal and happy lives with the proper support and resources. Your best option is to call a local mental health center to find out more about anxiety and ask about their approach to treatment.

Do You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Posted on: November 10th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Depression is a problem that comes in many forms and can be related to different mental health symptoms depending on the individual. A less commonly known type of depression is seasonal affective disorder or SAD as it is often called. This is a type of depression that is tied to a certain time period and affected by seasonal changes during the year.

People with seasonal affective disorder may have many similar symptoms to those who struggle with more general types of clinical depression. However, those with SAD will see their symptoms begin and end at around the same time every year. Their depression is essentially temporary but since it is recurring, it constitutes a significant mental health problem.

Most individuals who have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder start to experience symptoms of depression when summer shifts into fall and winter and the weather becomes colder and darker. Although it is much less common, some people do experience SAD in the early spring or summer rather than winter. Typically, though the individual will become moody, lethargic and depressed when winter sets in.

Although the symptoms of SAD may begin to dissipate after a few months, the effects of the disorder can still interfere with a person’s life and happiness when they are struggling with their feelings of depression. People with this disorder need to seek professional treatment in order to have more stable motivation and moods throughout the year.

Identifying Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Because SAD is a problem that usually only lasts a few months, people may not realize that they have a mental health issue initially. They may write it off as the “winter blues” or just circumstantial depression whenever it occurs. However, eventually they may begin to notice the recurring pattern that is taking place.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can include the following:

  • Losing interest in hobbies and activities
  • Having low energy
  • Oversleeping during winter
  • Appetite and weight changes along with intense cravings
  • Sluggishness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide

If these symptoms tend to subside when the seasons change then it may be a strong indication of having seasonal affective disorder.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder

Like many types of mental health problems, SAD can be tied to both genetic vulnerability and environmental factors. Because the symptoms are tied to seasonal changes, physical factors may be partially to blame for the onset of SAD.

During the winter, having less sunlight can be a factor that influences a person’s mood and well-being. A decrease in sunlight can disrupt the body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm which can often lead to feelings of depression. The change in the body’s clock may cause an individual to sleep too much or too little because of the loss of sunlight.

The lack of sunlight during winter can also cause serotonin levels to drop which can significantly affect a person’s mood. Serotonin is the chemical in our brain that helps regulate our emotions and produces feelings of joy. Low levels of serotonin can trigger depression because of the chemical imbalance that makes it difficult for the body to maintain emotional stability.

Similarly, the weather changes can also disrupt an individual’s melatonin levels which are crucial in regulating sleep and mood. These types of chemical imbalances which can occur during winter are a common reason why people begin to feel depressed as the seasons change.

SAD tends to be more common when certain risk factors are present in an individual such as a family history of SAD or other types of depression. People who have other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder may also be more vulnerable to developing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Those who live in countries with less sunlight in winter such as those farther north or south of the equator also tend to have higher rates of the disorder.

Getting Help for SAD

Seasonal affective disorder may only last a few months but it is a significant mental health problem that must be treated professionally. People with SAD may find that their depression during the winter causes problems for them in their career or their personal life. Anytime these symptoms appear, life can become much more difficult on a daily basis for someone with SAD.

In order to recover from SAD it is important to talk to a psychiatrist that has experience with the disorder and can give you an accurate diagnosis. Make sure to discuss the pattern of your symptoms with a professional and talk to them about how to minimize your symptoms.

Although psychotherapy is often the best option, people with seasonal affective disorder can also benefit from treatments such as light therapy and medication to help raise serotonin levels. If you think you have seasonal affective disorder talk to a therapist about different options for treatment and recovery.

Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression

Posted on: October 24th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Essential Oils for Anxiety and Depression

Everyone experiences feelings of sadness and stress that can be overwhelming from time to time. Luckily there are plenty of natural mood boosters that act as a therapeutic way to ease some of your tension and help you feel more relaxed. Some studies show that the use of certain essential oils can be helpful in promoting a healthier mood for people with mild symptoms.

Essential oils cannot work to cure depression or eliminate other mental health issues, but they can act as a nice mood lifter and people can benefit from them as a complement to other types of therapy. Research indicates that essential oils may help relieve some of the physical symptoms associated with depression by improving sleep, relaxation and enhancing the mental state. Used in combination with massage therapy, essential oils can also help reduce symptoms of pain.

There are several studies involving essential oils but much of the evidence tied to their effectiveness is based on personal accounts. One study proved that patients who received an aromatherapy massage with essential oils reported less pain and depression than those who received massage alone.

Another study provided powerful evidence that essential oils can help reduce feelings of worry and anxiety. The study selected elementary school teachers under a lot of stress and used a 10 minute long inhalation of the essential oil bergamot. The teachers showed reduced blood pressure and heart rate as well as more balanced nervous activity.

Types of Essential Oils

Bergamot is well-known for its use in calming feelings of depression and anxiety. It is a very popular oil because it is very stimulating and can create a feeling of joy and freshness by improving blood circulation. Bergamot can be combined with other types of oils to have a more powerful effect on improving your mood.

One of the most well-known essential oils used for relaxation is lavender, which is made from a purple flower with many beneficial properties. Lavender can be used in many forms including tea and essential oils to help promote healthy sleep and a more balanced mood. A small study showed that patients with depression showed improvement after receiving 60 drops of lavender tincture per day.

Roman chamomile is another essential oil that helps to battle depression and anxiety. Most people are familiar with chamomile tea which you can drink to help you sleep and relax. Chamomile is one of the best medicinal herbs to fight stress because of its soothing qualities.

Another essential oil that is often used to fight depression is ylang ylang which is known to have immediate positive effects on a person’s mood. Research shows that this herb can help release negative emotions such as anger, low self-esteem and jealousy. It can also help reduce heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate to promote a feeling of calm.

How Oils Change Your Mood

The main reason that essential oils can affect your mood has to do with the way our sense of smell is linked to our brain. Smells can serve as emotional triggers as they are carried directly to your brain and interact with the limbic system. This system evaluates sensory stimuli including scent and registers either pleasure, pain, danger or safety.

The limbic system is sometimes referred to as the “emotional brain” because it is directly to connected to the parts of the brain that control your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormonal balance. When people experience stress they often have an increased heart rate and rapid breathing which creates tension in the mind and body.

When you inhale essential oils they interact positively with the limbic system and help create physiological changes that affect your mood. By improving your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing the smell of the oil can allow you to feel more relaxed and less anxious. Inhaling a blend of oils directly from the bottle or through a diffuser for several minutes can have an immediate effect on your mood.

Using Essential Oils

In addition to using a diffuser you can also add essential oils to your bath for relaxation or apply them directly to the skin. Applying essential oils topically to the skin can help reduce pain and allow you to absorb the properties of the herb. Massage and heat can help enhance the absorption of the oil.

If you have mild symptoms of depression or anxiety, then incorporating essential oils into your daily life can help improve your mood. The oils should be used as a complement to regular treatment through a therapist if you have more severe symptoms or have been diagnosed with a mental illness. You can incorporate essential oils into other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation to increase the effects and get the best results.

Can Sober People Take Antidepressants?

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Can Sober People Take Antidepressants?

People who make the choice to quit abusing substances may feel hesitant to be put on any type of medication. Part of recovery is making the decision to avoid any type of “mind-altering” substance that changes your mood and affects your emotional state. Medication like antidepressants can seem like a grey area because they are provided by a psychologist but they also are taken to alter your mood, something that sober people make great efforts to avoid.

For many people in the recovery community, antidepressants and other types of medication still carry a stigma with them. Sober people may see antidepressants as just another chemical meant to provide you with an escape from your natural emotional state. Some members of 12 step groups may feel that medication of any kind is detrimental to reaching full recovery.

The prevailing attitude that medication is dangerous can be accurate for many types of prescription drugs such opioids or sleeping medications which can be habit forming and cause addiction. However, although antidepressants do act as a mood altering drug they are rarely abused and typically don’t lead to addiction. These kinds of pills can actually be life-saving for people that struggle with severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Coping with a Dual Diagnosis

The idea that people should avoid antidepressants because they are in recovery is misleading and can be dangerous for someone that has been given a dual diagnosis. Someone who has been self-medicating their depression or anxiety with alcohol or other drugs with find it especially difficult to become sober. The symptoms of their mental illness are likely to intensify to an overwhelming point once they take away their substance abuse.

Some people in the recovery community may not realize that there is a difference between the type of sadness and emptiness that a person generally feels when quitting an addiction and the experience of someone with a legitimate mental illness. Someone with suicidal thoughts or a person who has attempted suicide in the past may need extra help to get through their recovery. A history of mental illness can make quitting an addiction very painful and may require specialized support and care.

If someone is diagnosed with a mental illness like depression or anxiety when they decide to quit their addiction, they will benefit most from a dual diagnosis facility for their treatment. Dual diagnosis programs treat both issues simultaneously and can provide the right kind of medication to improve mental health symptoms. Patients given medication can be monitored to see how they react to antidepressants and whether they should be used short term or long term.

Antidepressants vs. Other Medications

The stigma surrounding antidepressants in some parts of the recovery community may be founded on a misunderstanding of the way the medication works. Prescription pills like opioids or benzodiazepines are the types of medications that should be avoided in recovery because they have addictive properties. With those addictive drugs, users feel the effects very soon after taking it and can experience a sense of euphoria followed by the feeling of “coming down” when the effects wear off.

On the other hand, antidepressants can alter the mood but the effects of the medication take weeks or even months to start working. This type of medication does not offer an immediate “high”, in fact users rarely if ever feel the kind of euphoria that one would experience with opioids. Instead they feel more emotionally stable without the extreme highs and lows that usually go along with drug use.

In many cases, antidepressants are helpful to temporarily cushion the blow of getting off drugs or alcohol for people with a dual diagnosis. Patients do not necessarily have to continue taking antidepressants indefinitely and it is their choice whether they want to use them to help their situation. Some may prefer not to use the medication and simply rely on traditional types of therapy to improve their symptoms.

It is important to realize that people in recovery need to at least have the option to take antidepressants to help them get back on their feet especially if they have a mental illness. The medication may be a type of mood altering substance but it works very differently than addictive medication and is rarely abused. People in recovery should feel secure and safe about taking pills for the benefit of their mental health.

Whether a person decides to use medication or not, it is always important that they spend plenty of time in individual and group therapy to combat their depression and their issues with addiction. Therapy is the place where many of these problems are resolved and patients can eventually wean themselves off of antidepressants. No matter what the situation, it is important to reserve judgement if someone needs medication in their recovery and try to reduce the stigma surrounding antidepressants.

Serenity Malibu rehab is a luxury addiction treatment center located in beautiful Malibu, California.
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